AT least 112,000 sun-starved North-Easterners say they are more likely to risk scorching themselves in strong sun to get a tan this summer following last year's dismal weather, results of a new survey reveal today (Monday, April 29).

The shocking figures come after some of the coldest and wettest weather on record.

The YouGov survey, which asked adults in the region about their holiday plans and sun habits, was commissioned by Cancer Research UK and Nivea Sun to highlight the importance of enjoying the sun safely.

It showed that people across the region are so desperate to soak up some rays, that 48 per cent of those set to travel abroad say a reason for leaving the country is to spend time somewhere sunny after the bad weather in the UK last year.

And more than a third (35 per cent) said getting a tan was one of the reasons for holidaying outside of the UK.

The number of people diagnosed with skin cancer each year has risen dramatically since the 1970s, and malignant melanoma is now the fifth most common cancer in the UK.

In the North East, around 440 people are diagnosed with malignant melanoma every year.

Paul Wadsworth, Cancer Research UK spokesman for the North-East, said: "We know it's been tough getting through the long winter, especially when last summer was such a wash out. But, it's still important to enjoy the sun safely when it finally makes an appearance.